I suppose that we have to explain why this is likely to happen.
The law was designed to extend insurance to most of the 50 million Americans who lack coverage. But when the main features of the law go live Jan. 1, the share of those people set to remain uninsured is bigger than the proportion set to gain coverage. That raises the prospect of a long battle to make the law work as its supporters intended, and the likelihood that opponents will dismiss it as a costly failure.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projected soon after the law passed that it would reduce the number of uninsured to 23 million people in 2019, from about 50 million people now. In an updated projection earlier this year, the economists estimated around 30 million people would still be without coverage that year. The office has yet to revise its estimates in the wake of this week’s announcement.
It really does boil down to this: believe it or not, there really and truly were reasons why people were uninsured. Some people are low-risk (this also includes most young people). Some people are risk-takers. Some people are cheap. Some people are dumb. Some people can’t afford it. You can make a good argument that a society as wealthy as ours should worry about the last category, but it’s not smart to assume that every single person who was uninsured was because they were in said category. And some of the 20 million people who will get insurance now will not actually need it; they just won’t be able to get out of it. And the people who have decided that they don’t need insurance and will pay the tax instead – because Obamacare is a tax – are not going to generate from that tax the revenue needed to keep this misbegotten scheme afloat. But the Democrats can’t raise the tax to sustainable levels, even if the Republicans were cruel enough to get out of their way; if they do, then the next Democratic Congressional caucuses will look like their members had just had an outbreak of the bubonic plague rip through their ranks. Because that’s what more or less will have happened, in political terms.
There’s no good answer for the Democrats, by the way. Just pain.
— Michael F. Cannon (@mfcannon) July 8, 2013
PS: No, this will not lead to a single-payer health care system. That assumes that Barack Obama is competent at playing any tactical game more complicated than Tic-Tac-Toe.